🌎 The Barbillion

Plus: What is LK-99?

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Photo: Mike Blake (Reuters)

Good morning, Quartz readers!

Here’s what you need to know

Barbie’s global box office take crossed $1 billion. Greta Gerwig’s thoroughly pink movie has made more money than any other film by a solo woman director.

At 92, Warren Buffett has led Berkshire Hathaway to a new earnings record. On the back of its Apple and insurance sector holdings, Buffett’s company made just over $10 billion in operating profit in the second quarter.


A provocation. A brag. A hospital visit. Over the weekend, Elon Musk’s cage fight bravado yielded a three-act tragedy and possible surgery.

High interest rates are making billion-dollar lottery jackpots more common. These high payouts are a new trend—only four other jackpots ever hit a billion dollars before the recent spate of windfalls.


What is LK-99?

Is the hot new potentially superconducting material out of South Korea actually a hot new superconducting material?

We’ll know in a week, according to Michael Norman, a physicist and distinguished fellow at the Argonne National Laboratory. That’s roughly how long it will take researchers around the world to replicate the material, dubbed LK-99, and assess whether it is actually a superconductor or simply has unusual magnetic capabilities; his own lab is working on it as we speak.

🚀 Quartz’s Tim Fernholz has everything you need to know about the superconducting material in his latest Space Business newsletter. Never miss an update from the great beyond—sign up to get Space Business weekly.


One big number: 187,000

Number of jobs the US economy added in July

Quartz’s Nate DiCamillo explains that while the country’s labor market continues to grow at a steady clip, the big booms in jobs numbers are fading—and that signals a soft landing without a recession may actually happen.


Pop quiz: Sam Altman’s latest concern

The CEO of OpenAI, the owner of ChatGPT, is now worried about AI’s influence in…

A. Elections
B. Agriculture
C. Sports betting
D. Finance

It could possibly be all of them, but most recently, Altman shared his worries that the technology he’s become the face of could make politics even messier.


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💍 A YouTuber is accused of buying the world’s largest black diamond with the proceeds of a $1 billion crypto fraud


🤑These are the world’s most expensive cities in 2023

Surprising discoveries

A naturally occurring bacteria can stop the malaria parasite right in a mosquito’s gut. The discovery was made by accident.


Happiness fuels charity, not the other way around. There’s probably a mix of both, but the latter is more prevalent.

Only one song on the Billboard Hot 100 was written by a team of all women last year. It was Kate Bush’sRunning Up that Hill.”


Bald eagles are helping dairy farmers in Washington state. They’re nature’s pest cleaners.

There aren’t enough Lindas for the L.I.N.D.A. Club. That wasn’t a problem back in 1947, when one in every 18 babies in the US was given the name.


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